Will the Emmaus tradition of stretching banners over the main streets to promote community events become a thing of the past?
For many years such banners have been hung across Main Street at one end of town and across Chestnut Street at the other end.
Borough manager Shane Pepe said different banners are raised 20 or 30 times each year.
Now PPL has come up with new regulations and the borough must sign an agreement with the utility if it wants to continue attaching the overhead banners to the company's utility poles.
The one-time $50 agreement fee is not the issue, Pepe told borough council Monday night. "This issue is all of a sudden there are new guidelines they want us to follow."
He said PPL already is delaying Emmaus raising banners until the agreement is signed. He explained PPL's height requirements may be an issue. "If it's too low we need to raise it. If it's too high, we need to lower it. If it doesn't work, then it doesn't go up there."
"This is a change of tradition for us," said Pepe. "We're not so sure we can meet the requirements. But they kind of control the whole thing. One of their engineers is saying that one of the locations - I don't know which one - isn't meeting their specifications."
He suspects it's the Main Street location near the Emmaus Library and Superior Restaurant. The other banner location is near 10th and Chestnut streets.
"We've never had to do this, which means there probably was a change
in leadership somewhere," said Pepe.
"I think council feels these banners are important and would want to preserve the tradition," said council member Wesley Barrett after the meeting. "They have a nice small town charm to them. If we were not able to do this I would think we would find an alternative."
On another issue, some members of borough council may have been influenced by Monday night's bone-chilling cold when they expressed skepticism that any residents will show up for the first electronics recycling drop-off of the year, which is scheduled for noon to 6 p.m.
But after some discussion, council decided to stick with that date.
The e-waste drop-off site was created because trash haulers no longer collect electronic devices. It is at a dumpster next to the public works garage off Klines Lane, behind the Mobil gas station along Main Street.
"I'm not sure anyone's going to be recycling any electronics on March 10," said council member Jeff Shubzda, referring to the weather. He suggested canceling the March date and starting this year's once-a-month program in April.
"My bigger fear is can we find the dumpster," said council member Brian Holtzhafer.
"It's probably buried in snow," said Shubzda.
Arguing council should stick with March 10, Barrett said: "I think people will have stuff."
"Yeah, snowblowers," replied Shubzda.
"I agree with Wes, it's advertised and people will show up, because we haven't had it for three months," said council member Brent Labenberg.
"At the last one, the turn-out was fantastic. And I don't see any snow in the forecast, knock on wood."
Labenberg said the borough can do robo-calls to residents if another snowstorm should wipe out that first electronics recycling date.
"Is the facility ready to accept electronics?" asked Holtzhafer. "As of today, no."
The borough manager said the public works crew will dig out the e-waste dumpster or just put the material at another location on the site until it is dug out.
"It's supposed to be in the 40s by the weekend," said council president Lee Ann Gilbert.
Staffing the site one day a month costs the borough four overtime hours, said Pepe.
The site will be open noon-6 p.m. the second Monday of every month, except holidays. It is closed in December, January and February.